THE Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Wednesday slated February 27, 2019, for definite hearing of the three different appeals brought before it by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
When the matter came up yesterday for hearing, counsel to the Federal Government, Alhaji Aliyu Umar (SAN) told the panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal, sitting on the matter that he needed time to study the case file which was recently handed over to him.
Without any objection from Onnoghen’s counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), the court adjourned till February 27 to hear all appeals.
On the last sitting on the appeal, counsel had agreed to have the three appeals heard together, so as to save the time of the court.
Uche told the three-member panel of justices of the appellate court that he had already written a letter to the presiding Justice, Abdul Aboki, dated January 30, 2019, praying the court to determine the three appeals together and that the Federal Government as a respondent agreed to the position.
Counsel to the Federal Government, during the last hearing of the appeal, on February 4, 2019, Oyin Koleoso, confirmed that the two parties have agreed that the three appeals be heard together.
Onnoghen, in his first appeal, filed through his team of lawyers is challenging the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to try him on the six-count charge, of non-disclosure of his assets at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
The second appeal of the suspended CCT was against the January 14, 2019 ruling of the CCT to hear all pending applications in the matter, which he (Onnoghen) said, the CCT has no jurisdiction to hear.
The suspended CJN is also challenging his suspension from the office of the CJN by the Federal Government on the basis of an exparte motion is obtained from the CCT.
Onnoghen was arraigned before the Danladi Umar led Code of Conduct Tribunal on a six-count charge of non-declaration of all his assets, to which he pleaded not guilty to and was granted bail on self-recognition.
The suspended CJN has asked the chairman of the Tribunal to hands-off from further participating in the hearing of his case on grounds of likelihood of bias.
He alleged that the chairman had constructively convicted him without hearing from him or formally arraigning him before the Tribunal.
Onnoghen stated that the CCT chairman is a tainted arbiter because he is facing a bribery charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and could trade the charge to convict him for a plea bargaining.
President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended Onnoghen and appointed Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as acting CJN, based on an ex-parte order, obtained by the Federal Government from the CCT.